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UNC Charlotte, Premier Partner on Population Health

April 9, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier Healthcare Alliance are teaming up to develop population health management technology for non-profit hospitals.

UNC will combine its community health technology with Premier's business intelligence and analytics capabilities to form software that will aim to help non-profit hospitals conduct and analyze community health needs assessments (CHNAs). These CHNAs are required by the non-profits to justify their tax-exempt status, and for participation in many federal programs. They also help providers target, set and support their community’s health improvement priorities so they can appropriately allocate resources.

“Having data in one place helps providers to develop and track more effective improvements that better target public health resources to interventions that truly benefit communities in need,” stated Keith J. Figlioli, Premier senior vice president of healthcare informatics and a member of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Standards Committee. “These are the types of population health management capabilities that are central to effective accountable care organizations.”

According to Premier, many CHNAs use fixed weighting for a limited number of static, county-level indicators, such as causes of death or reasons for hospitalization, and require the manual management of large data sets from various sources. Thus, providers may lack the evidence-based data and criteria needed to identify vulnerable sub-populations and appropriately prioritize their community’s health issues. The UNC/Premier collaborative will aim to help these providers better identify, understand and predict disparities in care by integrating big data from disparate sources such as clinical and event-level data, extracted from electronic health records (EHRs); community data; and geographic data.

The two organizations have already gotten one health system to partner with them. Catholic Health Partners (CHP), Ohio’s largest health system with 23 hospitals and 265 other care locations serving 5 million people, has agreed to work with the two.

“Meeting the health needs of communities is an ongoing process that can and should be built into everyday operations,” J.D. Whitlock, director of Clinical & Business Intelligence at CHP, said in a statement. “We feel that this partnership will help us better identify vulnerable populations in need of additional health outreach, and make the most of our resources while helping the greatest number of people.”

Read the source article at Reducing healthcare costs

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